Keeping Track - Dateline December 2004
The Latest Releases from PERCY FAITH: The Columbia Singles – Volume 1 (1950-1951)Tzin-Tzun-Tzan; I Cross My Fingers (with Russ Emery); Violins From Nowhere (with Toni Arden); They Can't Take That Away from Me; I Was Dancing With Someone (with Toni Arden); Friendly Star; Goodbye John; If I Had A Magic Carpet; The Loveliest Girl I Know (previously unissued); This Is The Time; Green Grass And Peaceful Pastures (with Andy Roberts); I'm In The Middle Of A Riddle; Norah (with the Shillelagh Singers); A Kiss And A Promise; No One But You (with Johnny Thompson); You Are The One; Zing Zing Zoom Zoom; Come Home (previously unissued); The Circus Day Parade; The Happy Calliope Song; Black Ball Ferry Line; (with the Skylarks); The Wondrous Word Of The Lord (with the Skylarks featuring Les Scott); Always, Always (vocal by Peter Hanley); I Want To Be Near You (vocal by Peter Hanley); When The Saints Go Marching In (featuring the All Star Dixielanders); There She Goes; I Talk To The Trees (vocal by Peter Hanley & The Magic Voices); Would You (vocal by Peter Hanley & The Magic Voices). All tracks not credited with a vocalist feature a chorus. The observant will notice that two of the tracks have never been issued before. (USA) Collectables COL7635.
THE COLUMBIA SINGLES - Volume 2 (1952 - 1958) Festival (with chorus); Da-Du (with chorus); Over The Mountain (with chorus); Rap-A-Tat-Tat (The Dancing Cat) (with chorus); Funny Fellow (with chorus); Little Jumping Jack (with chorus); The Mosquitoes' Parade (with chorus); Everybody Loves Saturday Night (With The Paulette Sisters & Burt Taylor); Rainfall (with Bernie Leighton, Harpsichord); Land Of The Pharaohs; The Rose Tattoo (with chorus); We All Need Love (with chorus); Valley Valparaiso (with chorus); Baby Doll; The Last Dance; What's It Like In Paree? (Vocal By Barbara Manners); Katsumi Love Theme (From "Sayonara"); Never Till Now (From "Raintree County");: Do I Need You (Previously Unreleased) (with chorus);The Stars (with chorus); Somewhere (From "West Side Story") (Previously Unreleased);Maria (From "West Side Story"); The Impala Theme; Indiscreet (From "Indiscreet");Same Old Moon (From "Marjorie Morningstar"); Isle Of Paradise (Sur La Plage); Pyramid Dance (Heart Of Stone) (From "Goldilocks".) This is a superb compilation and, in my humble opinion, worth buying just to have the amazing full orchestral arrangement of Somewhere - awesome, and far better than the version on BROADWAY BOUQUET. Note also that Maria is not the same arrangement as on HOLLYWOOD'S GREAT THEMES. As well as two previously unreleased tracks, other gems are Rainfall, Land Of The Pharaohs and the excitingPyramid Dance - what a pity the maestro didn't record more of Anderson's wonderful music. (USA) Collectables COL7636.
I THINK I LOVE YOU The original album plus 7 selected singles Theme from "Cactus Flower" (The Time For Love Is Anytime) : Peppermint Hill And Strawberry Lane : Theme For Young Lovers Anytime Of The Year : Theme From "Kotch" : The Godfather Waltz : Emanuelle - The Joys Of A Woman. (USA) Collectables COL7653 – release date 9th November. Alan Bunting
GARY WILLIAMS with The JOHN WILSON ORCHESTRA ‘Alone Together’ Just In Time, Where or When, Why Shouldn’t I, Just One of Those Things, I Remember You, I Get Along Without You Very Well, If I Had You, More Than You Know, You’re Sensational, My Buddy, I’ll Be Around, Time After Time, The End of a Love Affair, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Alone Together Vocalion Digital CDSA6809, 55:10 minutes. This CD arrived just as we were going to press, so it has been slotted in to this feature literally at the last minute. Which means that space is limited, so the following comments should be regarded as a ‘teaser’ to a feature on Gary that will appear in our next issue. RFS members who saw him with the magnificent John Wilson Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in the Spring of 2003 will know that he certainly understands how to handle a song. Other readers will have seen him in various concerts around Britain, and there is no doubt that he is building a strong following of loyal fans. Although Gary often sings songs that are associated with the great stars of the past half century, he doesn’t try to copy them note for note. Sensibly he is developing his own style, and this new CD must surely be the very best thing that he has done to date. He can handle the ballads and swing numbers with the same gentle ease, and it all seems so effortless. Yet in the background there is the strong impression that you are listening to a fine young singer who has worked hard at his craft, and who has a great future ahead of him. His choice of material includes several titles that are lesser known (full marks for that) and it is so pleasing to hear some unfamiliar verses. The CD booklet informs us that the lush orchestrations are by Andrew Cottee – we must find out some more about him. The John Wilson Orchestra perform as brilliantly as always, and this is a superior quality product from start to finish. It should be in the Christmas stocking of everyone who appreciates the finest popular music that is around in 2004. David Ades
ERIC PARKIN plays PARKIN "Nighthawks" Encounters, Moods, Nighthawks, MovietunesShellwood SWCD19. One of our very finest pianists has made numerous recordings of the music of many great composers, so it is good to be able to hear a new CD entirely devoted to his own creations. In his booklet notes Eric Parkin explains that the paintings of Edward Hopper have fired his inspiration for the eight titles in the ‘Nighthawks’ section. Some of the artist’s atmospheric paintings of American life are reproduced, displaying the boredom and loneliness that can permeate life. ‘Encounters’ was prompted by the sight of passengers coming and going at the Channel Tunnel train terminal at London’s Waterloo station. ‘Movietunes’ recalls the late Christopher Palmer, whose work resulted in the rediscovery of so much fine film music, and introduced Eric Parkin in particular to the works of Miklos Rozsa. Finally ‘Moods’ is affectionately dedicated to Robert Farnon. Eric explains that Bob has always encouraged him to write down his improvisations, and there are plans for all these eight works to be published in due course. There is so much to enjoy in this magical collection, and piano lovers shouldn’t hesitate to acquire it. David Ades Shellwood CDs are available from the RFS Record Service.
MANTOVANI & HIS ORCHESTRA AND THE MIKE SAMMES SINGERS Kismet Overture, Sands Of Time, Rhymes Have I, Baubles, Bangles And Beads, Not since Nivevah, Stranger In Paradise, He’s In Love, Gesticulate, Night Of My Nights, Was I Wazir?, Rehadlakum, And This Is My Beloved, The Olive Tree, Zubbediya, Samaris Dance, Finale Act II Vocalion Decca Archives CDLF 8104 Back in 1964 this was, apart from original cast theatre recordings, Decca’s first serious excursion into the realms of the musical. The score by George Wright and George Forrest, both of whom attended the Kingsway Hall recording, is based on the splendid music by one of the most naturally gifted of all Russian classical composers, Alexander Borodin. Obviously nothing was spared in production and the cast list is impressive: Robert Merrill, Adele Leigh, Kenneth McKellar, Ian Wallace [how good to hear him again] and Regina Reznik. The first named is very much the singing star of the show. Nevertheless, Mantovani is clearly in charge as he shows in the Overture; his direction bringing plenty of sparkle as well as sumptuousness. The orchestra’s strings contribution to Stranger and Beloved demonstrates that old spine-tingling factor. The sound throughout is as highly spectacular as one might expect from a good Phase 4 recording, with just the occasional touch of over-modulation, and the album is an unexpected and most welcome addition to this label’s growing inventory of the great man’s re-issues.
GUILD LIGHT MUSIC
full tracklistings in JIM 160 & 161
GLCD 5106 – THE GOLDEN AGE OF LIGHT MUSIC – 1930s
GLCD 5107 – CHARLES WILLIAMS & THE QUEEN’S HALL LIGHT ORCHESTRA
GLCD 5108 – BRITISH CINEMA AND THEATRE ORCHESTRAS
GLCD 5109 – LIGHT MUSIC FROM THE SILVER SCREEN
GLCD 5110 – MANTOVANI – BY SPECIAL REQUEST
Although a substantial number of Light Music CDs have become available in recent years, none have exclusively concentrated on pre-1940 recordings; this in contrast to the many re-issues of Dance Band, Jazz and other music of that era. However, the gap has now been admirably filled by two of these new releases. The 1930s CD combines a good mixture of well-known favourites, eg The Glow Worm Idyll, March of the Bowmen, (a particularly spirited performance), Butterflies in the Rain, etc, with some very interesting – albeit less familiar – pieces by British, American and European composers and orchestras. Good examples of these are the Overture – The Immortals by Reginald King, (a very rare recording which I understand was ‘unearthed’ by an overseas RFS member), and the Overture from the Dance Suite by Kunneke. British Cinema and Theatre Orchestras consists of recordings all made between 1931-39, and features some notable conductors, including Geraldo, Richard Crean, William Pethers, Joseph Muscant, Alfred Van Dam and Hyam Greenbaum; the last mentioned became first musical director of the BBC Television Orchestra in 1936. Much of the music will be immediately familiar and emanates from a distinguished line-up of composers, including Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Vivian Ellis, Albert Ketelbey and Rudolf Friml. With a generous running time of over 78 minutes spread over nineteen tracks, this is a most attractive collection. A further trio of CDs returns us to the 40s and 50s. Charles Williams and the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra contains items from the early Chappell library, and with few exceptions the recordings are appearing commercially for the first time – there is little duplication between this and previous QHLO offerings from other companies. It is good to see and hear the two Charles Shadwell compositions, ditto the Percy Fletcher, Montague Phillips, and John Holliday pieces. In Light Music From the Silver Screen, we have another selection of absolute gems. During WWII, a good many ‘epic’ movies were produced, and these often featured a comprehensive musical score with a big theme – eg the famous "Denham Concertos". After the war this trend continued and the collection here includes music from films which appeared between 1946-1953. The roll-call of composers and conductors includes such luminaries as Robert Farnon, Sidney Torch, Charles Williams, Ron Goodwin, Philip Green, Muir Matheson and George Melachrino. From the pen of the latter, Vision d’Amour(from the film Woman to Woman) subsequently became part of a suite, Sketches from Life, with the alternative title, Loving. The 22 tracks will surely stir many memories and be a great delight to aficionados of film music from a relatively short-lived golden age during the immediate post-war period. And so to the final CD in this group – Mantovani by Special Request. Annunzio Paulo Mantovani was one of the great figures in the 20th century music scene. He was active from the beginning of the 1920s, an era when Radio and Gramophone Records were becoming a major force in home entertainment. By the 30s he had established his Tipica Orchestra, which was destined to become extremely popular. After the war, it evolved into an enlarged concert orchestra, and with the essential help of arranger Ronald Binge, he went on to sell literally millions of records worldwide. This compilation comprises tracks which have not previously appeared on re-issue CDs; these all date from between 1944-53 and in many cases have been included at the suggestion of Mantovani admirers, hence the CD’s title. Some of the pieces have an obvious thirties flavour, whilst others have an interim style, before the definitive ‘Mantovani sound’ which took off in the early/middle fifties. As with most of the GUILD CDs, there is a lot of material here that previously has not been heard in a long time, but once again will certainly jog a lot of memories! Having spoken at length to David Ades and Alan Bunting about the preparation of this series, I am well aware of the dedication and much ‘midnight oil’ which has gone into the realisation of these CDs. The sound quality is mostly of such a high standard that it has me searching around for new superlatives – it is difficult to believe just how old some of the recordings actually are. The results speak for themselves – these five new releases are worthy successors to the previous five, and are unreservedly recommended as definite ‘must haves’ And there are yet more to come…! Tony Clayden
FRANK CHACKSFIELD & HIS ORCHESTRA Beyond The Sea Track listing in JIM 160 The New Limelight Limelight Theme, The Man That Got Away, In The Still Of The Night, Scarlet Ribbons, Smile, Tonight, Theme from "Picnic" introducing Moonglow, Come Rain Or Come Shine, Night And Day, Here I Am, "Warsaw " Concerto Decca 475 614-9 At long last Decca have got around to transferring some of their famed Phase 4 LPs onto CD. And in 2-on-1 packaging, too. Trouble is with the first album here, Mike Dutton has beaten them to it by a matter of weeks [see my review last time]. There are some fine tunes on the second album and a good version of the concerto. The sound is brilliant and reasonably atmospheric, and this coupling may appeal – if you’ve not already bought the Vocalion. A pity about the duplication when there is so much other good stuff from Chacksfield still denied us. Peter Burt
MAURICE LARCANGE Accordion MICHEL LEGRAND – What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life, The Summer Knows, Windmills Of Your Mind, etc ; CHARLES AZNAVOUR Dance In The Old Fashioned Way, Yesterday When I Was Young, She, etc… with Roland Shaw Orchestra Vocalion CDLK4268, 76:39 mins. Back in the 1970s Decca recorded at least four Phase-4 LPs featuring the French accordionist Maurice Larcange. I cannot recall having heard them previously, but have to admit that the first two – now available on this new Vocalion CD – have come as a very pleasant surprise. Each LP is a tribute to a leading French composer, and it seems likely that most of the tracks have been arranged by Roland Shaw. For the Legrand LP Decca gave him the London Festival Orchestra and Chorus, and the spectacular sound right at the start of the CD alerts you to the fact that this is certainly not the kind of accordion music that used to be performed by various ensembles back in the 1930s! Here the accordion is used as a feature within the large orchestra, somewhat similar to the sounds which sometimes feature in recordings by Mantovani or Frank Chacksfield. The Aznavour selection has a slightly smaller ensemble (probably around 30 players), which seems to suit the composer’s style better. After a while you tend to forget that this is actually meant to be an ‘Accordion CD’ – in the hands of Maurice Larcange it simply becomes a part of the orchestra, and as far as I am concerned he produces some beautiful sounds. Perhaps this may not appeal to purists who prefer their orchestras in the traditional style, but I suspect that many people who are prepared to buy something a little different for a change may well enjoy it as much as I do. David Ades
JOHN PHILIP SOUSA – MUSIC FOR WIND BAND – Volume 5 Marches: The Minnesota March, The Thunderer, The Pride of the Wolverines, University of Nebraska, The Gallant Seventh, Powhattan’s Daughter, George Washington Bicentennial, The Diplomat, The Directorate, Our Flirtation, Sabre and Spurs, The Atlantic Pageant. Suite: Cubaland. Waltz: The Charlatan Waltzes. Band of the Royal Artillery conducted by Keith Brion NAXOS 8.559131 59.00mins. The sessions for Volume 5 of what is promised as the complete edition of Sousa’s complete works for wind band herald a return to the Blackheath Concert Halls. This is a disc full of rarities as with the almost solitary exception of the 1889 march The Thunderer most of the remaining titles here will be unfamiliar to the general non-specialist collector. However, the innocent ear, listening to the opening item here The Minnesota March, would probably have no great difficulty in guessing the identity of the composer since it is full of his characteristically flamboyant style and mannerisms. Of particular interest is the three movement Cubaland Suite each section of which reflects the changing government of this Caribbean country complete with appropriate national melodies. The Charlatan Waltzes from Sousa’s 1898 operetta are full of charm and would not have disgraced those of Parisian Waltz King Emile Waldteufel. On a somewhat more poignant note Keith Brion mentions in his notes that the George Washington Bicentennial march of 1930 was first played under Sousa’s baton at an impressive ceremony at the Capital Plaza in Washington in February 1932 just a month before the ‘March King’s’ death. Apparently The Diplomat was one of Sousa’s personal favourites but as far as this collection goes the palm for me goes to the 1918 march Sabre and Spurs the trio of which replicates the hoof beats of mounted horseman and makes felicitous use of the xylophone. In sum there’s some wonderfully ebullient, invigorating music here brimming with joie de vivre calculated surely to bring a smile to even the most dour curmudgeon. Recently a CD review magazine described the Royal Artillery Band as ‘a top notch ensemble’ and who would dare to argue with that? Super sonics and super budget price! Incidentally this fifth volume has been released in honour of the sesquicentennial of Sousa’s birth in 1854. Roger Hyslop
DEBBIE WISEMAN: Original soundtrack score for the film "Arsène Lupin" Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Crouch End Festival Chorus conducted by Debbie Wiseman (France) EMI 8636282. In her booklet note, Debbie Wiseman describes this film as "a movie that every film composer dreams of scoring. A film full of action, suspense, mystery, drama, humour and romance." Which just about covers every human emotion, so it would have to be a very special composer that the producers would entrust for such a work. It is a measure of Debbie’s high standing in the film world, that she should have been engaged for a major foreign film such as this, and it hardly needs saying that the end result is simply superb. Whatever she does, she seems to be able to get beneath the surface of the actions and emotions of all concerned. Thank goodness that modern composers like Debbie are maintaining the very highest standards of film composing. David Ades
JULIUS KATCHEN AND MANTOVANI & HIS ORCHESTRA Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue/Piano Concerto in F Decca 475 615-9 This album from 1955 is reissued by Decca in a new limited Heritage series celebrating its 75th anniversary. Delighted as I am for the company to be bringing back items from its years of light music pomp, I must admit to being a tad surprised at the choice here. The combination of artists makes the disc something of a collector’s item, and we can hear how Monty handles an 85-strong orchestra, but for the very best versions of these works look elsewhere. Peter Burt
SIGMUND GROVEN, Harmonica Here, There and Everywhere Title tracks, Two Beatles Girls – Eleanor and Michelle, Three American Sketches for Harmonica and Strings, Nordic Night, Midnight in Moscow, Tbliso, Down Under, Theme from ‘The Sundowners’, Yesterday, Gloria, Norwegian Wood, Sentimentango, Adagietto for Harmonica and Strings with The Norwegian Radio Orchestra conducted by John Wilson (Norway) Grappa GRCD4197, total timing 62:00 mins. For many years Sigmund worked closely with the late, great, Tommy Reilly so it is entirely appropriate that he should feature some works closely associated with the maestro in this collection – namely the two tracks from "The Sundowners" arranged by Angela Morley. Some other notable tracks include Sir George Martin’s Three American Sketches and Adagietto for Harmonica and Strings. Sigmund Groven himself is the composer of Nordic Night, Gloria and Sentimentango. This new CD is warmly recommended to everyone who enjoys hearing a harmonica with a full orchestra. David Ades This CD is available from Sigmund Groven, PO Box 5167, Majorstua, N 0302, Oslo, Norway – you can also order by e-mail:
SHIRLEY BASSEY Shirley In the Still of the Night, Let There Be Love, All at Once, For Every Man There’s a Woman, I’m in the Mood for Love, etc… Let’s Face the Music Let’s Fall in Love, Imagination, All the Things you Are, etc… EMI 4 732262, timing 75:32 mins. So many companies are now issuing CDs featuring two LPs, and considering the outcry that always greets any that do not contain the full contents of the original albums, it is surprising that record companies continue to incur the wrath of serious collectors. Two tracks are missing from the second LP, which is all the more disappointing since it features Shirley singing with the great Nelson Riddle. Geoff Love is MD on the first album, and there is plenty of good music to enjoy here. But why, oh why, did EMI have to spoil it? David Ades
RUSS CONWAY Concerto for Lovers Title track, In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning, Love is the Sweetest Thing, I Wish You Love, etc… Pop-a-Conway Hi-Lili Hi-Lo, Elusive Butterfly, Tears, Things, A World of our Own, etc… EMI 4732702, timing 77:20 mins. The first LP in the compilation reveals Russ Conway to be a very pleasant and accomplished pianist, and the superb orchestrations by Tony Osborne (conducting his own orchestra) make this a quality product from start to finish. During his career Russ made several other similar LPs, so what on earth possessed EMI to couple this great LP with ‘Pop-a-Conway’? The publicity describes this as ‘two contrasting albums where Russ proves what a great musician he was’. True, but the transition from the lush music of the first LP, to the brash pop sounds of the second LP, is just too much to take. To be fair, ‘Pop-a-Conway’ is not all bad, but the first track is absolutely dire. By all means, buy the CD just for the first LP with Tony Osborne, but you have been warned about the content from track 13 onwards! To return to the first album, the attractive title track is a Conway composition (under his real name Trevor Stanford), and he also includes a pleasant rendition of David Rose’s Our Waltz. David Ades
VIC DAMONE – The Vic Damone Collection Columbia 5149242. This is a set that I discovered quite by accident, but a quick look at the cover got me interested. The collection includes three CDs, containing 20 tracks each, and boy, are they good! I paid £11.99 which I think is very good value indeed. The tracks feature 1950s recordings with the likes of Percy Faith, Glen Osser, Paul Weston, Camarata and Axel Stordahl – to name but a few. There seem to be very few duplications with the nine other Vic Damone CDs in my collection, except of course for As Time Goes By and the wonderful An Affair to Remember and his superb rendering of On The Street Where You Live which must surely be the bets ever version of this song. I get the feeling that many of the titles were originally ‘B’ sides, but even so they are all very much worth a listed. The tempos vary quite a lot which is good, and Damone’s diction is so good and you are never in any doubt as to what he is singing about. There are no sleeve notes, only listings of all the songs and the dates when they were originally released. What did surprise me on the list, about It Had To Be You, is the comment "contains explicit lyrics"! Really? I never knew – did you? Whilst on the subject of great singers from 50 years ago, I have also bought a new CD called DICK HAYMES in Hollywood on Jasmine JASCD 124. It contains no less than 29 tracks, and they all seem to be the actual soundtracks from his films – thus you also get Vivian Blaine (in "State Fair") and Betty Grable ("The Shocking Miss Pilgrim"). It’s a good CD, even if one has got many of the numbers already, but probably not these soundtrack versions. Alec Hellyer
FRANK SINATRA – The Platinum Collection 3 CDs containing 48 of Sinatra’s greatest Capitol recordings Capitol/EMI 7243 8647602. How good to see a major record company doing full justice to archive recordings by one of its artists. This 3-CD set of vintage Sinatra is attractively packaged, with intelligent (anonymous) booklet notes, plus a good selection of pictures and detailed recording notes – dates, arrangers and conductors. Serious Sinatra fans will already have these tracks on other CDs, but for anyone wanting a representative selection of some of the greatest popular recordings of the last century, this has to be an essential purchase. David Ades
FRANCES DAY (Australia) Frank Bristow FBCD122-124. Now this really is something unusual. A three-CD set of almost everything recorded by this amazing artiste who was a household name during the Thirties and the war. Many of the songs are from private collections featuring film soundtracks and live rare ENSA broadcasts. All have been beautifully restored and all 61 tracks are a real pleasure to listen to. Her reception by the troops speaks volumes and when she sings An Englishman Spoke in Grosvenor Square it is easy to see why. Duets occur with, among others, Bud Flanagan and John Mills and among the foot-tapping orchestras are Ray Noble, Percival Mackey, Carroll Gibbons, George Scott-Wood, Ben Frankel, Geraldo, Phil Green, Jay Wilbur, Louis Levy, Henry Hall and Frank Cordell. Price £22.30 (inc. p/p). Frank Bristow's CDs are only available direct from Frank Bristow, 2 Cross Street, Brighton 3186, Victoria, Australia. Many other CDs are listed on Frank's WEB pages: http://www.musicfromthepast.com E-mail: Fax: (03) 9528 3167. Credit cards accepted. Arrangements can also be made for UK customers to send payment to a UK address using a British cheque - ask Frank for details. Peter Worsley
THE FILM MUSIC OF RON GOODWIN 633 Squadron, Frenzy, Lancelot and Guinevere, Deadly Strangers, Battle of Britain Suite, Whirlpool, The Trap, Of Human Bondage, Monte Carlo or Bust, Submarine X-1, Miss Marple Theme, Operation Crossbow, Clash of Loyalties, Beauty and the Beast, Force Ten from Navarone, Where Eagles Dare, Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines BBC Philharmonic conducted by Rumon Gamba Chandos CHAN 10262, 76:24 mins. Chandos kindly supplied us with advance information about this release (due out in the UK on 15 November), but we had not actually heard the recording before we went to press. However the previous film music CDs from Chandos by the BBC Philharmonic and Rumon Gamba have been of such a high standard, that we are unlikely to be disappointed. Understandably many of Ron’s ‘big hits’ are here, but there are sufficient differences between this and last year’s EMI tribute to encourage true Goodwin fans to add this to their collections. David Ades
PHIL KELLY AND THE NW PREVAILING WINDS ‘Convergence Zone’ Damp brown places, Cuzn bubba luvz, Subztatoot shuffle, Sweet Georgia upside down, Bella Luce, You and the night and the music, Yada Yada, 0. T .B.S. Kathy's waltz, The refrigerator. (USA) Origin 82417, 65:11 mins. This CD just missed the Big Band Roundup but after reading about Phil Kelly in the last issue I thought any fans should not have to wait till the New Year before knowing about it! Phil Kelly has had plenty of experience in arranging - Bill Watrous, Doc Severinson's Tonight show band, Si Zentner, Mel Torme, Buddy Greco, music for over 700 commercials, half a dozen Symphony orchestras, lectured in Film scoring and is one of the coaches at Bud Shank's Centrum Jazz Festival in Port Townsend, one hell of a C. V .! A glance at the track listing shows he also has a way with title twist! The band’s twenty one members includes Pete Christlieb, Gary Smulyan and Andy Martin, three players who always gyrate towards the good sounds. The first track rings subtle tempo changes on the traditional "Camptown races" kick starting the album in fine style. Subztatoot shuffle is seriously "hooky" bouncing all the way through it's seven and a half minutes, the riff owing a little to Gil Evans. Joe Labarbera wrote Bella Luce as a tribute to Conte Candoli, Jay Thomas played with and revered Conte, his poignant trumpet solo reflects their liaison, Phil Kelly introduces strings beautifully on this sublime tune. The album’s other ballad Kathy's waltz is dedicated to Phil's late wife, a song like something breathing close to you, jaw droppingly intimate and wide screen in Kelly's writing. Self produced albums such as this show that Big bands have undergone a renaissance due to musicians dedicated to keeping jazz alive despite being neglected by the mainstream labels. Paul ClatworthyAvailable from www.origin-records.com. In Great Britain: John Killoch. 65, Hundredacre Road, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands. B74 2LB, England.
GERALDO I Bring To You Sweet Music Hello Again, Lady of Spain, Carioca, Deep Purple, etc… featuring vocals by Eve Becke, Al Bowlly, Len Camber, Dorothy Carless, Carole Carr, Archie Lewis and others Living Era CD AJA5558. Geraldo has been fairly well served with CD reissues in recent years – no doubt a reflection of his importance on the British entertainment scene for so many years. This CD contains tracks from 1933 to 1948, so the music and styles vary quite a bit. Alan Bunting has done some fine restorations, and two tracks are of particular interest to readers of this magazine:Getting Nowhere and Sleepy Serenade were both conducted by Robert Farnon at a session on 4 October 1946 when Geraldo was in the USA. David Ades
BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA Conducted by BARRY WORDSWORTH Sir William Walton: "The Wise Virgins" ballet suite; Constant Lambert: "Horoscope" ballet suite. ASV CD DCA1168. Ballet music is often close to light music, and these two celebrated composers have produced fine 20th century examples of the genre. Perhaps the Walton score is rather on the heavy side, but there are some delicious capricious lighter moments from Lambert. Warmly recommended. David Ades
The Subtle Sound of DAVID SNELL My Favourite Things, I’ll Remember April, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Take Five, How Are Things in Glocca Morra, Baubles Bangles and Beads, Girl from Ipanema, Surrey With the Fringe on Top, Tenderly, Wives and Lovers, Laura, Fascinating Rhythm, Waltz Song, Get Happy. Vocalion CDLF8110. For many years David Snell was known and highly respected as one of Britain’s foremost harpists, with his wide-ranging repertoire stretching from the classics to jazz-rock. He has also written extensively for recorded music libraries, but today he is mostly in demand for conducting such prestigious orchestras as the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris. David also conducts scores for film soundtracks, ‘Cider House Rules’, ‘Emma’ and ‘Chocolat’ being recent examples. This CD is taken from his 1966 Decca LP which features David mainly as soloist, but there is some occasional discrete percussion, and a sax and trumpet appear on a few tracks – but no credits appear in the booklet. Here’s some quality playing that will add a touch of class to your collection! David Ades
GENIUS LOVES COMPANY - RAY CHARLES duets Here we go again, RAY CHARLES with NORAH JONES; Sweet potato pie, with JAMES TAYLOR; You don't know me, with DIANA KRALL; Sorry seems to be the hardest word, with ELTON JOHN; Fever, with NATALIE COLE; Do I ever cross your mind? with BONNIE RAITT; It was a very good year, with WILLIE NELSON; Hey girl, with MICHAEL McDONALD; Sinners prayer, with B.B.KING; Heaven help us all, with GLADYS KNIGHT; Over the rainbow, with JOHNNY MATHIS; Crazy love, with VAN MORRISON. EMI 7243 86654021, 51:42 mins. This type of album seems to be all the rage lately but as it is Ray's last recording it deserves attention! Just one look at the songs and his collaborations shows it covers most of his ventures in different styles of music - a mixed bag indeed! A massive host of session men are used, five with a small group, seven with full orchestra. The orchestral tracks have five scored by Victor Vanacore, a writer I will be on the look out for in the future. His arrangement on "Hey girl" is particularly beguiling and his other four come close seconds. A "Motown" veteran David Blumberg adds some delectable strings to Diana Krall's collaboration. Blues and soul fans will love this album and out and out pop and jazz fans will also find much to savour. Paul Clatworthy
CHRISTOPHER GUNNING Concerto for Piano & Orchestra; Storm; Symphony No 1. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer (USA) Albany TROY 686. If you like atmospheric music then you will enjoy this CD. Gunning is known mainly as a film and TV composer so it is hardly surprising that his concert works are lighter rather than heavy. So much the better for those who enjoy contemporary tuneful sounds rather than unrelated and discordant squeaks, bangs and whistles. Albany has a reputation for championing the former so if you like atmospheric and serious, as well as light music, then this will suit you well. Picture a mixture of Britten and George Lloyd, then stir it up with Charles Williams’s film music and you will not be far off the mark. Peter Worsley
NORTHERN SAXOPHONE QUARTET The Cowles Collection Foxglove Audio FOX088. The invention of the compact disc has made it possible for many composers and performers to issue their own material which, for a variety of reasons, may not have attracted the attention of major record companies. Possibly this CD is a case in point, but that is not to infer any criticism of the music or the talented performers. Indeed the Northern Saxophone Quartet is highly respected, and their members perform the works of Colin Cowles with polish and enthusiasm. Formed in 1980, the quartet often plays overseas, and they are accompanied on harpsichord by Alan Cuckston, who is probably the leading exponent of the instrument. The English composer Colin Cowles (b. 1940) is recognised for his understanding of saxophones in the ‘straight’ style – perhaps not easy to put into words, because his music covers many moods and the CD booklet description ‘homogenous chamber medium’ might confuse some! The repertoire tends to be more ‘serious’ than ‘light’, but any readers who want to explore unfamiliar works for the saxophone could well be pleasantly surprised. David Ades This CD is available for £10.50 (UK postage included) from: Cottage Harmony, Keens Barn Cottage, Keens Lane, Othery, Somerset, TA7 0PU, England.
ALEX HASSAN ‘Taking a Chance on Love’ – the complete 1939-40 Popular Piano Solos of VERNON DUKE We’re Having a Baby, Autumn in New York, Jack and Jill, New York Nocturne, April in Paris, Midnight Lullaby, etc… Shellwood SWCD29. Readers will not need reminding that Shellwood specialise in piano recordings, and they continue to come up with fresh and appealing ideas. Once again it is the turn of Alex Hassan to take centre stage, with an intriguing collection of works by the great American composer Vernon Duke. Although published as piano solos over a two-year period, the songs actually date from 1929 onwards. Not every one will be familiar, but they are all enjoyable.David Ades
‘SECRET ELLINGTON’ previously unrecorded compositions by DUKE ELLINGTON You are beautiful, They say, This man, Only yesterday, I like singing, Full of shadows, New shoes, I am lonely, I get lonely for a plaything, You walk in my dreams, Big white mountain, My home lies quiet.True Life TLE 100002, 65:46 mins. Four different arrangers, twenty musicians but even with such an input you can understand why it never made Broadway! You will not end up humming the tunes and the lyrics are sometimes painfully inept (writer Herb Martin). A lot of hard work, money, talented players all mostly wasted! If Ellington had arranged his songs and used his Orchestra the result might have been different; we will never know. Herb Martin and playwright Henry Miller got together in the early 1990's to revamp the show to fit in with the Harlem of 1920; I hope they end up with a more likely hit! Where the instruments are let loose without the handicap of the words the music has its moments such as the fast tempo used on the first track and the gentle "Bossa" beat of "This man", elsewhere, not so hot! No wonder it has been secret for so long. Paul Clatworthy